What Do Your Roots Mean?
I visited my family in Mexico a couple of weeks ago. Every time I go “home” I connect with my roots. When I think about what it’s like to be there, I remember the relaxation and the feeling of connectedness, something that I felt Americans were lacking when I first came to this country. Now, I see a movement taking place around the world and people are connecting with nature and themselves. In Mexico, I don’t care about looks or physical appearance, most of the time wearing no shoes and no shirt. There are so many people around, music is playing, there’s not much quiet! It’s a vibrant environment. The house carries smells of oregano, beans, rice, cumino, chiles, seafood, chicken soup, cheese… And there are certain rituals we follow at home that take us out of our normal everyday routine and transport us to our roots.
For example, the older relatives wake up early, eat early, and are ready to go early. That’s what was expected of us as kids. My dad was a photojournalist and still works for the press, and my mom was and is the CEO of the house. She’s the chef, the clothing designer, the seamstress, and the doctor. I learned at an early age that a happy home takes teamwork and acceptance. It really does “take a village.” I didn’t always understand that then and I’d go out late dancing and would come home to meet my consequences. My dad taught me that your actions – good ones and bad ones – have consequences, and we never nurture instability. Of course, the same is true of dogs and their natural pack leadership, never following an unstable leader. More than anything, my dad taught me about honesty, integrity, and loyalty, or work ethics. My mother taught me the same about relationship ethics. I believe you make a conscious effort to practice both, but it was coming to America that opened my eyes to being more sensitive towards my sisters. And every time I return to my roots, I am reminded of the lessons that make me who I am and strive to be.
Someone I work with told me a story recently about a trip to the Amazon jungle in Brazil. She talked about the peace and relaxation she experienced being away from television, radio, Internet, news, and even running water and electricity, realizing how simple it was to live simply and learning what you can truly go without. Connecting with nature in that setting was easy – it was a simple way of being – you hear, you see, you smell, you taste, and are in tune to your senses in a way that we miss when we are surrounded by the demands of busy lives in the city. I love that. Sharing moments where we strengthen our relationship with nature. Whether you visit a jungle and can go trekking into the deep wilderness, visit your family’s farm in the country, or go to an ocean where you can go whale watching, I encourage you to find ways in which you can connect (and stay connected) to Mother Nature and define what your roots mean to you.